A definition for mentoring by @Pricen999

The mentoring role

The purpose of this article is to consider ideas focused on the world of education. I will share my ideas and opinions on everything from classroom management to assessing to lesson observations. All aspects will be considered. The blog is just my ideas, sometimes I will include references other times it will be just me sharing. Feel free to share your opinions, and thoughts I what I’m producing.

I hoping to share some future research ideas, and again gain any ideas. Enjoy my blog and hopefully, it will create debate and provide some ideas. My first blog is looking at the idea of mentoring when completing initial teaching training, with the idea of providing support and helping them within the journey of professional formation.

I would like to develop a definition for mentoring. My definition is that mentoring is help to another member of the team develop an area of their career they would like help with. As stated by Koeppen and McKay (2000) that mentoring is a process where novices gain support and encouragement from a more experienced member of staff. I would agree with the opinion of Koeppen and McKay however, I believe that the term novice causes an issue as in their opinion mentoring support could help experienced members of staff develop further. However the study by Gabel-Dunk and Craft (2004) who discuss the idea of a mentor modelling behaviour of the mentee and following in mentors footsteps, this idea was taken from Odyssey with Telemachus following Athena. Again this idea of modelling a mentee’s behaviour could help inexperienced teachers develop their skills if they have recently changed career or completing a teaching qualification.

This idea of developing a member of staff is commented by Koeppen and Mckay (2000) which comment that as you begin your career find someone to work with and share experience, a good colleague will help you reach your full potential. I understand the comments by Koeppen and McKay however what would be of concern is that the person you wish to mentor at the start of your career might not be the person to shape your career. Within Gabel-Dunk and Craft (2004) study they develop the notion of the development of an unique relationship which is where the individuals would share personal characteristics, philosophies which help determine their own direction.

The idea of developing a relationship is commented on by McLean (2004) who believes that a mentoring relationship needs to be characterised by mutual respect, understanding and trust. With developing a unique relationship it would in the researcher’s opinion that this would be developing a long-term relationship in the developing and sharing of skills and experiences. However as I stated previously that at different stages of your own development or your life then your philosophies could change which could make the unique relationship pointless or something either party clings to in an attempt to continue a mentoring system in place. There is thoughts against this idea as stated within Koeppen and Mckay (2000) as from there own experiences of working together for over fifteen years in a mentoring relationship. The length of this mentoring experience is phenomenal and shows the value of developing an effective relationship which is of benefit to both parties.

At present the need for a mentor has been considered and the research suggests that it can aid with the development of skills and experiences, however does the mentor need to be from within the same curriculum area? Research conducted by McLean (2004) stated that development of individuals was affected due to the subjects in the studying stating they were unable to share similar experiences and not provide support in the technical aspects of the subject matter. Acknowledge that the study conducted is limited to a specific group of subjects. However I’m of the opinion the curriculum within a peer mentoring system should not affect the development of skills and experiences.

As I am from a further education environment then completion of a relevant subject degree would be necessary in order to teach, therefore consideration would be for the development of teaching skills and experiences is what is required from a mentoring relationship. Therefore in theory it would be acceptable to have a mentoring relationship with a lecturer from a different subject area as long as previously stated that there is the sharing of similar personal characteristics and philosophies.


McLean, M. (2004). Does Curriculum matter in peer mentoring? From mentee to mentor in problem-based learning: a unique case study. Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning. 12 (2) 173-186

Koeppen, K. and Mckay, J. (2000). Who is Telemachus? long term mentoring in education. Teacher Development. 4 (3) 425-435.

Gabel-Dunk, G. and Craft, A. (2004). The Road to Ithaca: a mentee’s and mentor’s journey. Teacher Development. 8 (2) 277-296

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Nathan Price and published with kind permission. The article was originally published in 2015, and updated in 2019 by UKEd Editorial in accordance with website policy and upgrade changes.

The original post can be found here.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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